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It’s May Day; A Working Man and Woman’s Holiday!

May Day dates back to before you were born and changed the face of a hard days work.

May Day
42579661@N06, flickr

In the early beginning, May Day was a celebration from spring to summer. In Medieval England people would go into the woods and collect greenery and flowers. Others would hold festivals with singing and dancing. May Day was time to celebrate.

In the late 1800′s May Day became much more than flowers and dances. May Day became an International workers holiday. A day of celebration for workers around the world as an expression of unity and freedom.

In 1884, the U.S. Federation of Organized Trade and Labor Unions had passed a law declaring that, as of May 1, 1886, an eight hour workday would be the full and legal workday for all U.S. workers – the ruling class had that much time to recognize this new law and put it into effect.

The owners refused.

On May 1, 1886, workers took to the streets in a general strike throughout the entire country to force the ruling class to recognize the eight-hour working day. Over 350,000 workers across the country directly participated in the general strike, with hundreds of thousands of workers joining the marches as best they could.

Some groups across the globe today ask workers not to go to work in an attempt to raise awareness for better pay and working conditions.

When I wrote about my daughter Ashley not knowing what May Day was a week or so ago, I got a lot of responses about doorbell ditching with baskets of flowers on your neighbors step and how it was a family event making small baskets for friends and loved ones. So…. whether you look at today as a great day in history for the working class, a time to celebrate with dancing and flowers, find it a day to stand up for more working rights or don’t give the day a second thought, I wish you a happy day, hopefully filled with flowers.

 

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